An all-star cast lead this adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim’s award-winning Broadway musical, but will I be singing its praises?
To lift an infertility curse a baker and his wife (James Corden and Emily Blunt) are set a challenge to bring four items to the witch who put the curse on them (Meryl Streep). Their task intertwines with the tales of Cinderella (Anna Kendrick), Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford), Jack (Daniel Huttlestone) and Rapunzel (Mackenzie Mauzy), who are all wishing for their lives to change. But as the saying goes, they should be careful what they wish for.
I haven’t had a movie song stuck in my head this much since The Lego Movie’s Everything is Awesome, unfortunately while the title song Into The Woods starts off fun and entertaining it soon becomes a bit boring and irritating as it goes on far too long. Much like the film itself.
Maybe I’m being a bit harsh but at 124 minutes this movie is much too long. The first half of the movie is fine. Corden and Blunt are sweet as the Baker and his wife, and Blunt has a lovely singing voice. The film looks great and I love the costume, especially Johnny Depp’s wolf costume. Speaking of Depp, he is a lot of fun as The Wolf, but his role is basically a glorified cameo. I liked Cinderella’s story with Kendrick being as likeable as ever and Chris Pine is hilarious as her charming Prince. His duet with his brother (Billy Magnussen as Rapunzel’s Prince) is one of the highlights of the movie. And Meryl Streep is, well Meryl Streep-what else needs to be said she’s great.
Ok so Little Red Riding Hood and Jack are fairly annoying and Rapunzel disappears halfway through the movie making her character a bit redundant. But for the most part the first half is enjoyable enough.
However just as it seems the movie is reaching its natural conclusion when characters reach their happy ever after, the film then goes on for an extra half hour or so. I’m not against fairy tales having a darker side, in fact I enjoy that kind of thing (such as earlier in the movie when the Stepmother uses unusual techniques to get her daughters to fit into the glass slipper). But this ‘darker’ half of the movie just fell rather flat for me. The fun and humour from the first half disappears and the second half never feels as bold or subversive as the movie wishes it was. Perhaps its due to the changes from the original stage version, where some of the darker moments are cut from the film.
Rating 3/5 – a good first part gives way to a duller ‘darker’ second half that outstays it welcome